A Pennsylvania appellate court on Wednesday removed a Common Pleas order that barred the closure or repurposing of Delaware County Memorial Hospital.
The appeals panel found the contract for the hospital’s sale and testimony from a county official did not preclude the sale or show that any immediate harm would occur.
The Foundation for Delaware County had sought an emergency injunction to suspend Crozer Health’s planned closure of Delaware County Memorial Hospital. Rather than the county, the foundation filed the litigation because it was the legal party to the hospital system’s sale.
The foundation is the county’s largest charitable foundation, and it was created from the sale of the Crozer-Keystone Health System to Prospect Medical Holdings in 2016. Part of that agreement required Prospect to maintain acute care services at its four hospitals for 10 years or until June 30, 2026, the foundation said.
“We are very disappointed in the decision. Our primary concern has always been the health and well-being of the residents of eastern Delaware County,” said Foundation President Frances M. Sheehan in reaction to the appellate court ruling.” We believe there has already been significant repercussions for the people in the hospital’s surrounding area. We are regrouping and deciding on our next steps.”
Delaware County officials declined to comment.
“We are pleased by the court’s ruling and look forward to the conversion of Delaware County Memorial Hospital to a Behavioral Health Hospital to meet the needs of the community,” said Lori Bookbinder, a spokesperson for Crozer Health.
Previously, Delaware County Council Chair Monica Taylor, Ph.D., said, “Closing Delaware County Memorial would be catastrophic for our residents that have depended on its services for generations. And over 300 high-quality jobs would be lost due to this hastily announced plan, developed without input from the county. It is an unacceptable course of action by Prospect Crozer, and the county remains committed to ensuring that the public health needs of our residents are a priority over the financial considerations of a for-profit corporation.”
According to published reports, Crozer Health, which owns four hospitals in Delaware County, laid off some 215 employees in March. It is said to be struggling to pay its bills.
Last September, Crozer Health announced plans to convert Delaware County Memorial Hospital to a behavioral health institution. Previously, county council members said they were concerned about that plan because it could limit access to health care in the county’s eastern section.